School of Informatics

PhD candidate reveals Edinburgh cycling boom through animated map video

Using data from Just Eat bikes Benedek Rozemberczki has created a video showing the routes taken by users across the city, revealing a dramatic increase in usage after lockdown was introduced.


The video uses a map of the city to illustrate usage of the Just Eat bikes in terms of routes taken and how popular these routes are. Although the animation charts bike usage from the when the bikes were first installed in September 2018, it is the sudden increase in routes and popularity in early 2020 that is most striking. 

This boom in bike use coincides with the implementation of lockdown in Scotland, however it is difficult to ascertain whether this is the main cause for the increased bike usage. Other factors such as the growth of the cycle system and changing patterns in mobility will also have had an impact, which is reflected in the video. For instance, the installation of new bike stations in Queensferry led to new routes of usage between there and the main city, which can be seen in the video from 2020-03 (00:44).

Just Eat bikes are equipped with a GPS tracker which collects anonymous data about where each one goes throughout the city. Benedek chose to use this data because it is publicly available and it is formatted in a way that is simple to use, designed for analytics. The data also allows for start to end point visualisations such as that shown in Benedek’s video.

The video is a by-product of a larger project called SIM-SPREAD, led by LFCS Deputy Director Rik Sarkar. The project, funded by Data-Driven Innovation, is tasked with using data to model the spread of Covid-19 in order to provide recommendations on strategies for easing lockdown, reopening the city and continuing social distancing. This map video is part of the wider goal of analysing mobility in Edinburgh, as the Just Eat bikes provide an affordable, socially-distanced means of transport.

Related links

Coverage of the video on Edinburghlive

Benedek's personal page